A Killing Viewed Objectively

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I once killed a man briefly – for eternity.
But first I watched him:

He is untangling a vine that stops his progress. Engrossed;
Looking down; trusting, as I later learn, to eyes that peer
Intently from behind.
At first I think our Bushman Scout has strayed,
For we are Company, noisy, strong about that place;
Yet he so calm, unconcerned;
Seemingly engrossed with nothing but the vine.

He looks old: that face, it’s fat, it’s dark; expressionless.
His hands though, which are small and delicate, are busy;
The fingers, indecently pale against the living, green mass of vine.
To signify his presence to the blokes about
I carefully raise my hand,
Slowly, with silent, thumb-down deliberation.

There’s a track between them and me,
Dazzling white it’s in the Sun,
But he’s in dark, deep shadow with the vine.
Later we find a metal watch loosely clasped about his wrist,
It had a second-hand which ticked
And ticked and ticked right to the end and past.

The vine, it parts. He lifts his eyes. I shoot him.
The centre of the seen mass that was that man
Had been its belly, slightly low.
I’d used its fingers as my mark.
They were perfect.

The Blokes:
Private Eddie Stankowski, Rifleman,
Private Russel Cromarty, Rifleman,
Private Les Maynard, Machine Gunner
Lance Corporal Frank Chambers, Section 2IC
Private Jim Kelly, Rifleman, and
Me.

 

By Mick Shave

 

 

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Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

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